Whose Rules Do We Play By?

by batsman

I find the blog by Aizuddin Danian interesting (Wherefore art thou, Shadow Budget?). Permit me to discuss some ideas and pass some comments on it.

Rules are extremely important. They can be beneficial or they can be destructive. For example in the case of PKR’s nominations for DP, even if 10 divisions nominated Nurul Izzah, but all of them missed the deadline, she does not qualify to run, so it would appear that rules set by a nameless someone is more important and more powerful than the wishes of 10 divisions of the party. Luckily the leadership of PKR is wise enough to bend the rules.

When such types of rules become law, they allow a small hearted someone to become more powerful and more important than justice itself which the law is meant to uphold. In such a case, the law (e.g. ISA) becomes an oppressive and unjust law and it enables some miserable unhappy person to become a tin pot dictator who is able to impose his whimsical wishes on the whole country and make others miserable as well.

It is the same with football. While it may seem that the rules of football are technical land non-biased, the rules that are outside the game itself but surrounding it have a great impact on the game. For example, if there is a rule limiting football clubs to spend no more than RM 10 million a year all in, then you might expect the field to be more level and fairer (and if this rule is actually denoted in Ringgit Malaysia, we can expect a vastly more level playing field with each passing year).

Of course there will not be rich clubs spending hundreds of millions for star players, but then there will probably be no star players either and football will not be an industry worth billions. As it is, the rich clubs dominate the game, including those in “poor” countries which are able to draw talent because there is no other game in town (nor even any jobs for that matter) and every boy dreams of making it into the big time. If football were to be known by another name it may be called “money”.

Such a rule is not as far fetched as it sounds and a form of it is employed in the US elections for the President among others to try and make it fair.

It is the same with the Olympics. In the beginning only amateurs were allowed to take part. This rule is intended to level the playing field and make it fairer. Unfortunately the “amateurs” in the US have much greater access to sports and training facilities, so the “fair” part is still a bit “iffy”, not to mention the bureaucratic power of selecting, training and rewarding the best that the communist countries had. The poor 3rd world countries had to make do with exceptional natural talents and even then these are constantly being poached by the rich countries.

So the rules of the game can actually look very technical and non-biased, but the rules that surround it (if any) make all the difference. This difference actually invades areas other than sports. For example if a poor country is always at the bottom of the league, the rest of the world might say it is a pariah country and treat its citizens as such. Fortunately Malaysia is relatively rich and this offsets its poor image somewhat.

What I cannot explain is why in spite of its relative wealth, Malaysia is unable to do better in the Olympics and can only come out 7th in the Commonwealth Games (its best ever performance – maybe due to 1Malaysia?) which in my opinion is a pariah games comprising mostly ex-colonies which have never been strong enough to resist invasion in the first place, but I am sure some smart readers out there will be able to give their uninvited opinions. I guess this is your right. Sigh!

Permit me please to emphasize what I wish to say by giving more examples at the risk of getting boring.

If one obsessively plays by the rules of meritocracy, then the top surgeons and the doctors can only be afforded by the rich. There is no chance that a top skilled surgeon such as those found in IJN will treat a poor patient unless the good doctor also has a good conscience. If IJN were to be privatized, the poor can only afford to risk their lives at the hands of surgeons who graduated from our vaunted institutes of higher medical earning (at the expense of the government, no doubt) and who have not the skills or the meritocracy to be employed by a private medical institution. No doubt, such KPIs as “number of deaths per 100 surgeries” will never be a common rule of performance if we had such a medical system in our country.

I hope that you are able to see now that rules are extremely important. They have to be fair and at the same time allow human beings to do their best by not suppressing anyone except those who are immoral, corrupt, abusive and sinful.

In the international sphere, we are constantly bombarded by examples of the influence of rules. For example after centuries of playing by the rules that profit them and ignoring the desperation of the colonials and poverty stricken, the rich nations are now saying these very same rules are unfair because countries like China and India are growing rich while they themselves are becoming more and more indebted playing by these rules.

When western economies are under pressure, Hitler exhibitions which used to be somewhat against the rules when the west was rich and comfortable are now allowed in Germany, the Tea Party is becoming every reporter’s favourite topic in the US and Japan, which used to try and be friends with everybody now kidnap Chinese fishermen and pass comments on Nobel Peace Prize given to a Chinese dissident. I am waiting for Holocaust denial which is unlawful in Germany and a few other European countries to be made legal since it proves me right either way.

It is too painful to discuss what is happening in the Scandinavian and Benelux countries, so I will give it a pass as with the silly Froggies and their discriminatory laws (French woman faces fine for tearing niqab from tourist’s face).

How do all these relate to a shadow budget? Well, for one thing, if we demand that the PR follow behind BN and create a shadow budget, we are actually demanding that PR play by UMNO rules.

UMNO has been in power for over 50 years. In this time it has not only forged strong ties with the civil service on which it draws the expertise to come up with a budget for the country based on broad guidelines that it lays out, it has come to rely on the civil service as pillars of its power.

UMNO itself is has degenerated to something like human excrement which can no longer form much of a character (except for the stink) and has to rely on the pot of the civil service to give it some shape.

Again we often need to draw lessons from other countries in order to better understand what is happening here. UMNO’s relationship with the civil service is like the Chinese Communist Party’s relationship with its own bureaucracy. After an even longer time as a 1 party state, the politicians in China have lost the initiative. Even communists now complain that they are being censored by the bureaucracy that they created – nameless unhappy miserable tin pot dictators who breach China’s constitution at every little whim and fancy. (Follow link – communist complaints)

Trying to match a shadow budget with the real budget is trying to play by UMNO rules. The opposition has no choice but to play by its own rules – exposing ineptitude, waste, abuse of power and corruption and presenting their own case to Malaysian voters whether such sinful culture and way of life that the country is forced to live by under the rule of UMNO is what they the voters want.

When the PR gets into power (provided it does not shoot itself in the foot first), it will have to rely on the petulant and probably sabotaging civil service to fill in the meat of the budget that will get its policies (as authorized by the voters) that will offer improvements to the country implemented without breaking it.

By degrees, it is hoped that UMNO die-hards in the civil service will either see the light and become non-partisan and neutral or be weeded out.

Only when the political situation is healthier and both sides of the opposing spectrum are more or less equally matched in terms of ability to take over the reins of power and become the government of the day can the voters fully expect a shadow cabinet and a shadow budget (btw, it is actually more meaningful and easier to have a shadow cabinet than to come up with a shadow budget, so if the PR says that it cannot comply with coming up with a shadow cabinet, there is little sense of demanding a shadow budget). When this happens there are no more excuses – do it or wait longer in the opposition

In the meantime, there is no harm in allowing UMNO to day dream about how its fairy tale fantasy RM trillions budget (probably dependant on J Lo and Arabian dreams) is going to help Malaysia make it into the big league and entertain the fat hope that such fairy tales will help it continue to cling on to power with filthy and sinful hands. But this is another story.